Obama Names Alabama Family Doctor as New Surgeon General

57895382President Barack Obama named Dr. Regina Benjamin as U.S. surgeon general in an announcement late this morning at the White House.

Benjamin, an Alabama family physician, runs a rural health clinic in Bayou La Batre, Ala. She was the first African–American woman to head a state medical society and received a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” last year.

Benjamin, who must be confirmed by the Senate, became known nationally for her determination to rebuild her clinic, destroyed by Hurricane Georges in 1998 and again by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

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Pictured: U.S. President Barack Obama listens to Dr. Regina Benjamin, nominee for Surgeon General, speak in the Rose Garden of the White House July 13, 2009 in Washington, DC. Benjamin, a Physician from Alabama who served as the head of the Alabama state medical society and has received a MacArthur Foundation ‘genius’ grant. (Photo by Robert Giroux/Getty Images)